Shipton 8, Rickard 30


PORTLAND United’s FA Vase campaign ended in the first round as in-form Exmouth Town took a 2-0 victory over the Blues at the King George V Ground.

Brendon King’s men have enjoyed good cup pedigree this season, making the second qualifying round of the FA Cup before losing to Wiltshire giants Salisbury 1-0.

Portland have also made good progress in the League Cup, beating Fleet Town 5-0.

However, against Toolstation Western League Premier Division big-hitters Exmouth, the Blues came up short as Town extended their perfect home record this season to six wins from six.

Exmouth made an excellent start, taking the lead in the eighth minute through Callum Shipton.

Blues’ goalkeeper Steve Boore had punched clear but Town recycled the ball and Portland failed to deal with the cross, leaving Shipton with a golden chance to score from 12 yards.

Town doubled their lead on 30 minutes when a team move from left to right created an opening for a cross from which Karl Rickard headed home at the back post.

Portland responded with a clear chance for Ryan McKechnie but the forward unusually failed to make the most of it as goalkeeper Chris Wright saved.

Blues’ centre-back Luke King then flashed a header wide of goal from a corner as Portland went into the break 2-0 down.

Portland created several chances to get back into the game in the second half as McKechnie missed twice, while Ben Morris also passed up two clear opportunities.

Speaking to Echosport, boss King said: “I’m very disappointed in our performance. We didn’t adapt to the pitch, the conditions or the way they played.

“Ultimately, that cost us. The pitch was in poor condition, not because it was wet.

“It was nowhere near the level of what we’re used to playing on at home. We knew we weren’t going to be able to play much football, so we had to be a bit more direct – which doesn’t really suit us.

“But, you’ve got to adapt to what’s in front of you and we didn’t do that for the first 45 minutes.

“We set out to play a certain way and we didn’t do it – we found ourselves 2-0 down quite quickly.

“Overall, in the first half, we were outfought, out-battled and they were by far the better side, no qualms about it.”

Portland are at home to Bashley on Saturday (3pm).

Blues: Boore, Bastick, Bessant, King, Clarke, Stewart (Morris 65), M Buckler, Williams, McKechnie (Hereka 80), Symes, Beasley (Cox 75). Subs not used: Halloran, Green